Excelling During Change

Excelling During Change

06/2/14 James Winston

Stress of Change
Few people like change, especially a lot of it. Change may be hard for individuals to accept if they didn’t initiate it, don’t understand it, or don’t approve of it. But if management has instituted a change, resisting the change rarely helps. Your best bet is to modify your attitude and accept the change in a positive manner.

Change Tends to Mean Something Different to Everyone
For those who may not view change as appealing, they may instead experience feelings of giving something up, dealing with a loss, detaching from the familiar, losing control, increasing uncertainty, having to let go of the past, or just an overall concern about the future. Others may view change more positively and see it as a time to create new opportunities, a chance to be challenged, a new learning experience, an ability to be creative, and a time to rally self and others around the changes.

Common Reactions to Change and How to Best Manage Change
For those who are not as comfortable with change, there are common reactions that should be acknowledged:

  • Anxiety around not knowing
  • Anger that this is happening to you
  • Feelings of discomfort, distrust, and uncertainty
  • Concerns of what the change(s) mean for the present and future

If change tends to be a challenge, there are steps you can take to help the change process. First, take your Response-Ability. This is the ability to determine your own response to a situation. You have the choice to cope with the change, adapt to the change, or more importantly, help create the change and excel in the change.  Second, adopt the 3 C’s:

  • Control: Focus on what you can control, choose your responses, avoid panicking and rushing, get support, and seek an outside perspective. Remember: You have a response-ability; acknowledge the rough spots, be a change agent, and invest in your future.
  • Challenge: Focus on identifying and exploring new opportunities. Reframe negative thoughts and feelings to more positive ones. The discomfort of change does not last forever; it will become more comfortable with time and guidance. Give change a chance!
  • Commitment: Set new goals for adapting to the change and focus on self-improvement and learning new skills. Commit to being resilient – this means remaining positive, focused, organized, and proactive. Find a work/life balance by doing things you enjoy to help reduce stress; this includes keeping your sense of humor and practicing stress management techniques.

What is a Manager’s Role During Change? As a manager, it is your job to understand the changes being instituted, to implement them effectively, and communicate the change(s) to your employees. Assist your staff in dealing with a changing environment by keeping them abreast of the changes happening. Be understanding of their uncertainties or fears of change and encourage your employees to ask questions and to seek guidance. Help your employees set goals and monitor whether an employee might need help during the change process.

What is an Employee’s Role During Change? Part of the change process is acceptance. Your role is to acknowledge the need for change, help make the transition smooth, and let the change work to your advantage. It’s a time to showcase your skills and adaptability. Work with your boss to better understand the changes. If you have fears or questions, ask your boss directly. Help expedite changes and show that you’re a team player by not resisting change, but by helping the change process.

If you feel it would be beneficial to talk about your responses to change, contact the EAP to discuss it further.

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